I hadn’t actually seen that many photos of Park Güell before I went but I knew I wanted to go. It blew my mind in a different way than the Sagrada Familia did. Gaudí was so before his time. I mean, to think that he started working on the Sagrada Familia in 1883, and then Park Güell in 1900, is insane. Insane.
The park is named after a wealthy Spanish entrepreneur, Eusebi Güell, who bought the land where the park is today. The land was remote at the time but Güell hired Antonio Gaudí to build a neighborhood for the rich. Only two houses were ever built (neither by Gaudí) and the project was considered a failure.
The park, located on Carmel Hill in Barcelona, Spain, was built between 1900-1914, opened as a park in 1926, and was declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO in 1984. Gaudí lived in one of the homes from 1906 to 1926, although I think he frequently slept and spent most of his time at the Sagrada Familia. The house is now the Gaudí House Museum, which we toured and I will share photos in another post.
Why it’s worth going to Park Güell
Mosaics are one thing. Gaudí’s mosaics are entirely another thing. They are in their own category. There is so much mosaic tile outside and on buildings and everywhere in this park. I had to stop myself from taking a million photos of every inch of mosaic that I found inspiring because that would have filled up my entire camera card.
The shapes of the architecture and design are said to mimic nature. They are so unique and artsy, while I’d personally never design my house or neighborhood that way, it is so beautiful to visit and to appreciate.
The Serpentine Bench
My favorite part of Park Güell was the long curvy mosaic bench on the edge of the central terrace, which is the large gravel gathering place in the park. The curves of the bench form places where small groups people can gather together and take in the gorgeous view of Barcelona.
The bench was well thought out by Gaudí. The seat is mostly white (parts have color, but the majority of it is white) so it doesn’t get too hot to sit on. The back of the bench is curved for lumbar support but it also allows air to go through your lower back so you don’t get too hot. There are also holes in the bench for water drainage. And the curvy design facilitates places where groups of people can gather and have semiprivate conversations and to encourage being social. I also read that it’s the longest bench in the world.
These columns are called the Doric columns. They support the roof of the lower court which forms the central terrace, with serpentine bench around the edge.
Getting tickets to Park Güell
You do have to pay to go to into the main part of Park Güell and separately for the Gaudí House Museum. But if you are planning to do both and other tourist stops in Barcelona you can buy bigger passes that get you into lots of different places around the city. I recommend doing that. Especially if you have several days to spend in Barcelona and want to go to a lot of museums. I had a press pass that was given to me by Barcelona Tourism, so I don’t know what the best pass is, but I think it all depends on what you personally want to see in Barcelona.
Know that you will have to pay to get into most things and there are usually two lines — one line to get tickets, and one line to get in. So if you can bypass the ticket line by already having tickets, I highly recommend doing that to save yourself time. This is true at the Sagrada Familia as well.
How to get to Park Güell.
If you go by metro, it’s about a 20 minute walk from the closest metro station. We took one of the hop-on-hop-off busses* which got us closer, but we still had about a 10 minute walk that is slightly uphill. You can also get there by cab. We took a cab back to our hotel from Park Güell.
Find more information and get tickets to Park Güell here.
See all of my posts about Spain here.
Photos by Meg Biram. Please do not use without written permission.
*The hop-on-hop-off busses are expensive, but can be a great way to get around the city while also seeing it. My and my husband’s tickets were provided by the Barcelona Tourism.